An 11-year-old Tennessee boy was ordered to spend the rest of his childhood in juvenile detention for the cold-blooded killing of his 8-year-old neighbor — but officials aren’t exactly sure how to handle his incarceration.
The boy was found guilty this week of shooting McKayla Dyer to death with a shotgun from the window of his trailer Oct. 3 after the girl laughed at him, reported the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Jefferson County Juvenile Court Judge Dennis “Will” Roach II found Benny Nicholas Tiller delinquent by reason of first-degree murder following a two-day hearing, and he ordered him held until he’s 19 years old.
The Department of Children’s Services said he’s too young to place in a youth development center, and officials will have to develop a treatment and rehabilitation program for the boy because most state services for children involved in crime are aimed at teenagers.
The court order shows the boy had been talking with McKayla, her 11-year-old sister and an 11-year-old friend from the bedroom window of his trailer when he asked her to get one of her puppies, reported KXAN-TV.
The girl said no, and the boy went to get a 12-gauge shotgun and a BB gun from another part of the tailer.
McKayla laughed at her neighbor and said she didn’t believe the guns were real, and he aimed the shotgun from an open window and fired.
“(He) then made certain the gun was loaded, cocked the hammer of the gun and shot the victim just above the heart,” court documents show.
She died moments later in her mother’s arms.
The boy’s great-grandparents claimed another child had shot McKayla, but court documents show he threw the gun out the window to another child, who tried to give it back to the shooter — who laughed at the girls.
Both of his parents were home at the time of the shooting, watching the kickoff of the Tennessee-Arkansas football game, but neither one left the trailer until Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies arrived.
The judge found the boy had been trained in firearms safety and taken hunting by his father and grandfather, but he ruled the child was in “desperate need of help.”
“A child who commits first-degree murder cannot be willy-nilly turned loose into society,” Roach ruled.
McKayla’s mother said the boy had bullied her daughter since moving to the trailer park in White Pine.
“He was making fun of her, calling her names — just being mean to her,” said her mother, Latasha Dyer, the day after the shooting. “I had to go the principal about him, and he quit for a while, and then all of a sudden yesterday he shot her.”
The boy’s three brothers and two sisters have been placed in the care of relatives.
Prosecutors said the case was not closed, and additional charges could be filed in connection with the girl’s death.
However, prosecutors declined to say whether the boy’s parents were under investigation.